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UK’s largest single-phase district energy scheme completed in Leicester

Cofely, a GDF SUEZ company, has completed the first phase of the Leicester District Energy Scheme, enabling thousands of homes, as well as council-owned and other buildings in Leicester, to be provided with environmentally friendly energy.

The Leicester District Energy Scheme is a 25-year £15mn partnership between Leicester City Council and Cofely District Energy. Spanning six city estates, the system is the largest of its kind in the UK to be installed in one phase. It uses a combination of over 5MW of low carbon gas-fired combined heat and power  (CHP) and upgraded biomass boilers, which will help achieve carbon savings of around 12,000 tonnes per year by 2014, Cofely says. It is anticipated these carbon savings will rise to more than 20,000 tonnes per year by 2020.

As well as upgraded biomass boilers, the development features a new 3.2MW CHP engine at the University of Leicester, that will also provide heating to several city council buildings including De Montfort Hall, the Town Hall, Moat Community College and Leicester Central Library. It will also provide heat to HMP Leicester. Work to lay the 7km of pipework required took around 18 months, but was completed five weeks ahead of schedule.

Deputy City Mayor Cllr Rory Palmer said the roject is “a major milestone” for Leicester and the council’s commitment to making it a low carbon city. “The District Energy Scheme will help us make dramatic carbon reductions and is a huge step forward to helping us achieve energy stability in the city,” he said. “We will now be working to encourage other local organisations to join the scheme, and help us to extend the benefits of combined heat and power further across the city."

Simon Woodward, Chief Executive of Cofely District Energy, added: "The Leicester District Energy scheme is one of the largest projects of its type in the UK to be constructed in one phase and installation has been completed ahead of schedule, and on budget. Now fully operational, the scheme will stand as an example of what can be achieved with the vision and ambition that Leicester City Council has shown."  

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Bioenergy  •  Energy infrastructure